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Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Sat Jan 13 13:41:33 2007


>>> Eliminate the lower body for a minute. If you would, get a bat and turn the barrel in the hands like Bonds and Williams do. I'm sure you can do that. What they do is similar to your tht. I call it forearm rotation because it is done with much more aggression than the "fingers" can muster. They are similar. The barrel goes rearward first. Make the capital "C" with the barrel. Backwards "C" for a righty hitter. But, just do it with the upper body or triangle unit (forearms).

Without lower body involvement, firm the body so that the shoulders do not rotate but instead laterally tilt. Do that aggressively.....violently. There is quite a bit of energy there. The lead shoulder's first movement is up, not around. That is a resistance move. While doing that, rotate the forearms....turn the barrel in the hands. You can hit the crap out of the ball doing just this.

Now, do the same thing, continue resisting with the shoulders, but do not restrict the lower body. Allow it to work against the shoulder resistance. The hips will open working against the shoulders which are being held back, and energy builds up. At the same time the forearms are working against the shoulders resistance. A point is reached that the two mechanisms build up so much energy that the shoulders can no longer resist or hold their position and they cusp. An immediate launch and an immediate spending of energy.

I think there is common ground in our beliefs. But, I also believe a huge mistake is made by teaching bht and shoulder rotation. And, the circular hand path....but that is another story.

No, the kinetic chain, as commonly explained among the hitting discussion boards, is not at work in the baseball/softball swing. While the kinetic chain may be the way the body creates the most rotational energy, and that may be how discus throwers do it, there is nothing that says that is how a high level hitter swings. In fact, video shows they don't. The kinetic chain, while powerful, is very slow developing, relatively speaking. A hitter can not wait for that to happen. He has little time to react to all the pitches, in all the locations at all the speeds. The kinetic chain type swing also offers little to no adjustability.

So, a high level hitter works two mechanisms against the shoulders that come together at the same time. The shoulders have some control over it by their resistance to rotation. As soon as they rotate, the mechanism can not cusp. It becomes sluggish. And it offers no adjustablity.

Get in your stance and hold your shoulders back while opening the hips. What do you feel? Keep holding them back and keep opening the hips. What happens? Energy builds up. Keep going until you can't hold it. Now, suddenly, release the hold on the shoulders.......POW. That built up energy explodes at a speed faster than you could do it manually.

Now, do the same thing with the forearms. Hold the shoulders firm. Turn the bat in your forearms. Make the capital "C". Do it aggressively. Feel the pressure build in the shoulders.....that is energy trying to get out. The shoulders control that energy.

The release of the shoulders at the right time releases both the upper and the lower halves' energy directly into the forearms which are turning the bat. That is how you achieve the quickness of launch that high level hitters have.

The upper body controls the entire system.

I could demonstrate this to you in person in 30 minutes or less. It is quite clear once you understand it. It is difficult to put into words. Another important point.....the diagonal swing plane versus the horizontal swing plane. Why do almost all mlb hitters swing in a diagonal plane today? Because they are turning the bat in their hands. The horizontal swing plane, which is almost nonexistant in high level swings, except on high pitches, is a result of shoulder rotation type swings........found predominantly at the amateur level.

To summarize the difference. At launch, you pull the knob with your shoulders. I rotate the barrel with my hands. The difference is striking. <<<

Hi Teacherman

First, I agree that trying to describe a bio-mechanical movement with written word is very difficult. And, I probably do completely comprehend what you are trying to convey. – I also agree that arms (with forearms) do work independently from shoulder rotation during a batter’s pre-launch movement to accelerate the bat from a cocked forward position back to the launch position (behind the head). This occurs before shoulder rotation is initiated.

However, that is a low energy mechanic. I have demonstrated Sheffield’s style (bat cocked forward to point at the pitcher) of accelerating the bat back to the launch position, with just one finger of the top-hand on the bat. The real energy for the swing occurs once the bat has arrived at the launch position and shoulder rotation is initiated. From that point on, most of the energy (80+ %) is derived from the larger muscles of the legs and torso that drive shoulder rotation.

Jack Mankin


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